The following is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
Sportfishing opportunities on Prince of Wales (POW) during the winter consist of stealhead, trout and Dolly Varden in freshwater and king salmon, shellfish and some bottomfish in saltwater.
NEW! Check out the wefishak page on the ADF&G website for the new gofishak interactive map to discover popular fishing locations and information on species run timing, fishing gear selections, and boat and angler access tips! The previous interactive map for Prince of Wales is still available but will be retired in 2021. For the most up-to-date information, please use the new app linked above.
* Please do your part to slow the spread of Covid-19 by practicing social distancing while sport and personal use fishing, and wearing a face-covering when social distancing is not possible.
Chinook (King) Salmon
King salmon fishing is generally slow during the winter as mature migratory king salmon have migrated through the area. Feeder kings are available throughout the winter, although catch rates are generally low.
Chinook Salmon regulations:
- The resident daily bag limit is one fish over 28 inches.
- The nonresident daily and harvest limit is one fish over 28 inches. Any king salmon harvested earlier in 2021 applies to the harvest limit of 1 king salmon.
- Immediately upon landing and retaining a king salmon a nonresident must enter the species, date, and location on their sport fishing license or on a nontransferable harvest record.
- From October 1, 2021, through March 31, 2022, a sport angler may use two rods when fishing for king salmon, a person using two rods under this regulation may only retain salmon.
Small numbers of winter steelhead enter select drainages from early November through spring. Systems with winter steelhead include; Thorne, Karta, and Klawock rivers and Ratz and Eagle creeks. Fishing is generally slow due to small numbers of fish and cool water temperatures.
Trout and Dolly Varden
Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and Dolly Varden are available in many of the freshwater drainages of POW. Fish are available throughout the winter in both lakes and rivers. Productive drainages for trout include Luck, Klawock, and Sarkar lakes; the Thorne River, and Ratz Creek. Regulations regarding size limits, bag limits, and the use of bait can vary by waterbody, so please check the Southeast Alaska Sport Fish Regulation Summary.
Halibut fishing tends to slow down in the winter and is closed during the month of January.
Retention of lingcod is prohibited from December 1 through May 15.
Rockfish can be caught year-round. There is a section on the Fish and Game website for identifying common rockfish of POW.
All sport fishing vessels are required to have at least one functional deepwater release device (regardless of species targeted) and anglers will be REQUIRED to use a deepwater release device to release rockfish to the depth it was hooked or to a depth of at least 100 feet. Please see the Southeast Alaska Sport Fish Regulation Summary or visit your local ADF&G office to see examples of rockfish release devices and learn about their use.
Demersal Shelf Rockfish
The retention of demersal shelf rockfish is prohibited during 2021.
- No retention of demersal shelf rockfish which are the following species: yelloweye, quillback, copper, canary, china, tiger, and rosethorn rockfish.
Some slope rockfish are common in marine waters surrounding POW. The most common species are silvergrey, rougheye, shortraker, and vermilion rockfish.
- One per day; one in possession
Pelagic rockfish provide good fishing in the marine waters surrounding POW.
- Season: year-round
- Five per day; ten in possession
For additional information regarding rockfish identification and management please refer to the rockfish conservationpage.
Regulation summaries and copies of the news releases are available at the Craig ADF&G office.
For further information, please feel free to contact the Prince of Wales Area Management Biologist: Craig Schwanke (907) 826-2498.